Kenn, here's the statute in MN as it pertains to the class D license that the driver of crash had:
(c) Class D drivers' licenses are valid for:
(1) operating all farm trucks if the farm truck is:
(i) controlled and operated by a farmer, including operation by an immediate family member or an employee of the farmer;
(ii) used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, or farm supplies, including hazardous materials, to or from a farm;
(iii) not used in the operations of a common or contract motor carrier as governed by Code of Federal Regulations, title 49, part 365; and
(iv) used within 150 miles of the farm;
(2) notwithstanding paragraph (b), operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in section 169.011, subdivision 3, whether or not in excess of 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight;
(3) operating a recreational vehicle as defined in section 168.002, subdivision 27, that is operated for personal use;
(4) operating all single-unit vehicles except vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 26,000 pounds, vehicles designed to carry more than 15 passengers including the driver, and vehicles that carry hazardous materials;
(5) notwithstanding paragraph (d), operating a type A school bus or a multifunction school activity bus without a school bus endorsement if the requirements of subdivision 2a are satisfied, as determined by the commissioner;
(6) operating any vehicle or combination of vehicles when operated by a licensed peace officer while on duty; and
(7) towing vehicles if:
(i) the towed vehicles have a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or less; or
(ii) the towed vehicles have a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds and the combination of vehicles has a gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less.
Now, if you read it carefully it's not clear, hahahaaha. If you read (3) it allows the kid to drive an rv, period. There is nothing there about how heavy a trailer you can pull with an rv. It just says you can drive an rv. Now let's read (7). That makes it look like you can only pull a 10k lb trailer on a class D, or, over 10k lbs but combined less than 26k. Since (3) says nothing about trailers it doesn't prohibit pulling a trailer of any weight with an rv. You would think you would have to abide by (7), but it's not clear. And apparently it's not clear to whomever they've interviewed for the various articles since all the "experts" that I've seen quoted said he was okay to drive that rig on a class D. I am just a local city cop and don't know much about traffic law. I'm going to quiz our traffic "experts" and see what they think.
The more I've read this the more confused I get. It looks like one could drive a HDT pulling an rv trailer too. Here is the MN definition of an rv:
Statute 168.002, Subd. 27.Recreational vehicle.
(a) "Recreational vehicle" means travel trailers including those that telescope or fold down, chassis-mounted campers, motor homes, tent trailers, and converted buses that provide temporary human living quarters.
(b) "Recreational vehicle" is a vehicle that:
(1) is not used as the residence of the owner or occupant;
(2) is used while engaged in recreational or vacation activities; and
(3) is either self-propelled or towed on the highways incidental to the recreational or vacation activities.
So, since (3) in 171.02 allows you to drive any rv, regardless of weight, I think you could. And this would clearly be over the 26k combined if you pulled just about any 5th wheel with an hdt. I think it's all how you interpret the language. And, I'm guessing there's been no legal precedent here to clarify it.
'03 Freightliner FL112, 295" wheel base, with '03 United Specialties 26' living quarters, single screw, Cat C12 430 h/p 1650 torque, Eaton 10speed , 3.42 rear axle ratio